The darkening of hearts

Thy home thy castle thy prison

Chapter four: Thy home, thy castle, thy prison

The journey wasn’t all that long, but it was still the longest she had ever endured. Her mind blurred by the memories of the past two days and racing away, never allowing her to rest or to truly enjoy the landscape. As they left Tirion they entered an area with huge villas and farms and the carriage made good speed for there were few using the road this early in the day. Lerina felt fatigued, drained somehow. She could see that Maitimo was worried so she tried to smile and act as if everything was alright but he could see through her façade.

The area spoke of wealth and class and the gardens and parks were carefully groomed, it was beautiful but she somehow found it a bit unnatural. He didn’t speak at all during the journey, kept staring out at the landscape and she knew that he too was caught within his own thoughts and dreams. As they got closer to their destination she somehow managed to let her shoulders drop a bit, she felt safe again. They were so far away from the city she no longer feared her parents and she got curious about their destination once more.

The house they had been given was grand, more of mansion than a villa and it had a stable and a smaller building for the servants. It had a smithy and several other small buildings too and everything was built in a very nice light rock that made everything seem very clean and new. Lerina fell in love with the place immediately and as the carriage came to a halt in front of the main entrance she already knew that this would be her safe haven. Maitimo helped her out of the carriage and she stared at the lovely park surrounding it with wide eyes. The servants had gathered waiting for them and Lerina was pleased to see that there weren’t that many of them. All were elves who had lived for quite a while and they seemed to be both experienced and kind. Some stared at her but she didn’t mind, she had gotten used to it.

Their baggage had arrived that night and everything had been put into place already, she knew that they had gotten a lot of gifts and they were already there. She could hardly believe that this wonderful house was to be her home, and that she was allowed to do whatever she liked. The light of Laurelin was still strong and she and her husband were ushered into the dining hall where a meal awaited them. Lerina could just gape, there was so much food! And the smell was wonderful, it made her mouth water and she could barely contain herself. She remembered what her mother had taught her about good manners and tried to act according to those rules but it was hard.

He petted her shoulder gently. “ You do not need to behave like a lady here unless we have guests.”

She giggled and grasped onto a chicken leg with her bare hand, it had been fried and rolled in spices and the scent was wonderful. Before long she was eating like a starved one and he grinned and shared her appetite. She felt silly afterwards, her chin covered with grease and her fingers covered with chicken fat and skin. Her mother would have warmed her butt had she seen this but now, now that didn’t matter anymore and she let out a small shriek of sheer relief. “You have deserved it little one, have something to drink”

He reached forth and poured some wine into her goblet. It was a rich red wine which smelled of blackberries and cherries and it tasted so good she almost drank the whole goblet dry in one go. He snickered and shook his head. “ It is alright Lerina, but do not drink like that when there are others present. They will think my wife is a drunkard!”

She rolled her eyes. “ Oh no, imagine the scandal!”

He had to grin, she had a strange sense of humor but he liked it. She was probably a very lively and outgoing person deep within but it had been smothered by her past. “Yes, it would be terrible”

His wide grin made him look very boyish and she found that charming. He finished his food and tilted his head. “ My brothers will probably visit us rather soon, but worry not, they are alright. The servants here have served my family for centuries and are absolutely loyal but they do not know of…our little arrangement. “

She nodded. “ I see.”

He reached forth, grasped her hand. “ As long as I get to stay with you and pretend to be a loving husband everything will be alright Lerina.”

She looked down at the exquisite table cloth. “ I know, and yet I fear the times we have to appear at court.”

He sighed. “ Yes, I know. But it will be weeks before we both have to be there, and by then I hope things will have cooled down.”

She sighed. “ It is some sort of celebration isn’t it? “

He nodded. “ The queens begetting day, everybody is expected to show up, even the ones who cannot stand her.”

Lerina remembered the beautiful but somewhat stiff vanyarin nis and also the short but sympathetic glance she had received from the queen. Somehow she felt that Indis would understand her situation. “Are there many, who cannot stand her I mean?”

He leaned forth, bit his lower lip. “ Oh, plenty. And the problem is that most of them are of her own people, the vanyar.”

Lerina wiped off her face with a napkin, it was made from the loveliest fabric and very soft. “Really? Why?”

Maedhros met her gaze with soft eyes. “ Because they think the valar made a mistake when they allowed my grandfather to remarry. “

Lerina snorted. “ They think the valar made a mistake?! Eru, how twisted are they?”

Maedhros chuckled and grasped a tray with some pieces of cake upon it, showed one piece down onto her plate. “ Very, they worship the valar and yet to some even the valar aren’t pious enough. “

She felt stuffed but the cake looked very tempting, so she grasped a spoon and tasted it carefully, it had a wonderful flavor and she forgot she was full. “I bet they are the ones I will have to watch out for right?”

Maedhros made a grimace. He didn’t want to discuss these matters with her this fast but when she brought it up of her own free will. “ Yes, and no. Yes because of the rumors that will be spread from now on, no because there are others who probably will be far more of a problem.”

She frowned, the piece of cake almost gone. “ Who?”

Her voice was a bit thin and he grasped her hand, gave it a light squeeze. “Jealous nissi who think they ought to have become my wife, ner who think you are willing to bed whoever tries to get in underneath your skirts.”

She cringed. “ Eru have mercy, how am I to survive all this?”

Maedhros smiled and kissed her hand gently. “ By staying by my side all the time, smiling and using all your mother taught you. And by dressing the part too, one of the nissi working her used to be a seamstress for my mother, she is extremely good at making just the right dress for the occasion.”

Lerina sighed. “ Wonderful, for I am not.”

He nodded. “ Be not afraid Lerina, it will be alright, you will get used to it all.”

One of the servants entered the room and he got up, helped her onto her feet. “ I bet you want a tour of the house?”

She nodded and smiled, tried to act her part. She had to convince the servants she was a normal newly wedded wife who was head over heels in love with her husband. He held her hand as they walked through the huge building, there was a music room, a room set aside for art and crafts and also a room with equipment for training one’s strength and endurance. She stared at the beautiful and expensive furniture and knew beyond any doubt that this was much nicer than the things back at her parent’s home. It too had been ridiculously expensive but it lacked the style and quality of everything she saw there. She did notice lovely statues Nerdanel undoubtedly had sculpted, some nice metal vases and ornaments that Fëanor probably had made and there were thick pelts and furs Tyelko probably had brought. Maedhros nodded at her, a proud smile on his face. “ They have all contributed, even my uncles.”

She was eager when they approached the library. It was a huge room and filled with shelves with books and she almost started crying, all this was available for her? It was unbelievable! He saw her expression and sent her a gentle and soft smile. “ Yes, it is real. Read all you like but do not forget to eat and sleep.”

She was shivering all over with excitement. She could not wait, she wanted to sit down and start reading right away and he laughed. “ You are truly starved for knowledge aren’t you? But let us finish the tour before you become entangled within the world of lore and tales of old.”

She reluctantly closed the door and he then showed her the huge bath and the sauna and the kitchens and bakery. Then they visited the buildings behind the main house, there were a huge chicken coop and some pigs, goats and sheep and also some cows and rabbits. The stable was filled with beautiful horses of noble breeding and she stood there in awe of them. Maedhros went over and petted a huge black stallion on its muzzle, the horse obviously knew him and he smiled and waved for Lerina to come closer. “ I have one horse here I think will be perfect for you. Do you see that red mare over there? She is yours.”

Lerina just gasped, the mare was rather small and very beautiful and she couldn’t believe that it was hers. “ What’s her name?”

Maedhros smiled, her enthusiasm was so sweet and childlike. “ That is up to you, give her a name you think fitting.”

Lerina walked closer and let the mare sniff her hands, the animal seemed to be both docile and friendly and Lerina smiled. “ I think I will call her Vania.”

Maedhros cocked his head. “ A good choice, Vania she is then.”

Lerina then got a good tour of the gardens, their gardener was an ellon very well trained in the art of growing herbs and flowers and she found the subject fascinating. Maedhros did see that the gardener found her joy endearing and he knew that she had gained a friend there. When they were done getting familiarized with the whole property it was getting late. The mingling hour almost over and there was yet another meal being prepared for them. Lerina discovered that she was hungry again and she also did discover that she hadn’t been thinking about her injuries nor her parents for many hours. It was a wonderful thing indeed.

They finished this meal by a hearth in one of the smaller living rooms and then it was time to go to bed. Lerina knew that she didn’t have to fear him and she had started to trust him completely so she had no problems sharing the huge bed with him. It could easily have been shared by at least four elves and the matrass was thick and soft and the covers soft and warm. Maedhros cursed the fact that he still needed to wear a nightshirt, but he guessed that he had to get used to it. Lerina had decided to read a little before she went to sleep and she had brought a book of fairy tales from the library. She sat there leaned up against the pillows with a deep joy in her eyes and he had to admit that she was very sweet like that.

When they finally blew out the candles and went to sleep the entire house had been quiet for hours already and Lerina fell asleep right away. Maedhros stayed awake for a little bit longer, he was thinking of Fingon and wished that his lover would come visiting soon.

The next morning they were awakened by one of the maids who cheerfully removed the drapes and let the bright light of Laurelin into the room. Lerina stretched and yawned and felt a deep excitement. This day would be great and she just knew it. No more fear, no more doubt. She got into a rather simple and yet very pretty dress and Maedhros made sure that the maid saw him kissing Lerina, a kiss that looked very passionate but it was just for show. Then they went to breakfast and Lerina ate eggs and bread and had tea and milk and just being able to eat whatever she liked without anyone standing behind her nagging about her getting fat was wonderful.

The cook obviously thought that Lerina was way too thin and placed enormous portions onto her plate and Maedhros soon started to suspect that at least the female servants all had started to look at Lerina as if she was some lost child they had to take extra good care of. It was good, he knew his servants would take good care of her when he was in Tirion. When they were done eating Maedhros insisted upon teaching her the first things she needed to know about riding a horse and she was nervous but also eager. When she could ride a horse a whole new world would open up to her and give her a freedom like never before.

The stable master had already saddled the huge black stallion and Vania and Maedhros lifted Lerina into the saddle with ease. He was really very strong and she blushed and noticed that the stable master looked very smug. He probably believed that they were wedded for real. Maedhros instructed her as they rode slowly through the park and Lerina soon understood the basic principles behind it. She started to control the horse and Maedhros was praising her a lot. She had talent and even though she felt as if her backside was rather tender it made her beam with pride. She wasn’t used to being praised thus.

Afterwards she sat down in the library with a book and Maedhros went to train a bit and he also wanted to take a look at the financial situation of the household. Then they had dinner and afterwards they sat down to discuss the running of the house. Lerina wanted to start a herbal garden of her own and he saw her zeal and allowed it. As the lady of the house she was supposed to make sure that they had everything they needed of food and drink and she was a bit shocked by this but she wanted to do it. She wanted to impress him and be the perfect housewife and he had to laugh at some of her ideas.

And thus they fell into a routine, a shared breakfast, then some riding until dinner and afterwards they would do their own things. Lerina was so curious and eager to learn and she soon became the darling of everybody there. Her childlike openness and zeal made everybody melt and even the stern cook started acting like a mother hen when Lerina was present.

She spent a lot of time reading and she soon became more self-confident, more outgoing and her real personality would start to show. Maedhros made sure that the servants saw them caressing and sometimes he would pretend to be rather passionate with her. She accepted it and sort of liked the little game they played, she had the greatest respect for the others there but she thought it was fun to trick them. Maedhros had to return to Tirion for a few days and while he was away she dared to go for a ride on her own and was shaking all over when she returned, she had managed this all on her own! So soon she went for a ride every day and she galloped and jumped and became utterly fearless.

Maedhros allowed his brothers to visit them, but never more than two at a time and she soon started to win them over as well. Maglor held a small concert in their music room and she managed to make Celegorm blush and stutter when she praised the wonderful pelts he had given them. She praised Carantirs needlework and Curufin’s lovely hand forged fire pokers and since she showed such interest in their crafts they soon thought of her as a sort of adopted little sister. The twins were closer to her own age and they were charmed too, when she allowed them to use the huge bath for a whole evening which resulted in the entire room having to be scrubbed thoroughly since they had tried to make their hair darker by using beet juice and it left terrible stains everywhere.

Nerdanel visited too and when Lerina stopped being afraid that her mother in law would find her lacking she soon warmed up to also her. The two became rather good friends and could talk about everything and Lerina knew that Nerdanel knew the truth of the marriage. Fëanor visited too one evening, and he was very polite but didn’t show much feelings. Lerina did somehow sense that he was sorry he had gotten her into this predicament, he just wasn’t able to say that to her face. Instead he chatted a lot with his son, explaining about some exciting new project he was about to start, something about some gems and the light of the trees. Lerina didn’t really listen to them for she was trying to learn how to crochet and had to concentrate upon the pattern but somehow the little she did hear made her feel a bit nervous, why she didn’t know.

Maedhros had been a bit sad the last days for he had received a message from Nerdanel and she had told him she had left their home. She had moved back to her father and the marriage was in reality over. There was nothing left between the two except bitterness and resentment and she had given up. It hurt them all a lot but the twins had come of age and didn’t need her anymore and she was weary and wanted to live her own life again. Lerina did understand even though Maedhros didn’t. She had after all lived in a home where few feelings were present and she thought Nerdanel really was wise to make that decision.

She got to meet also Maedhros cousins, one by one. She wasn’t so sure if she liked all of them but she went riding with Irisse and Nerwen and the two were nice enough. She even went hunting once with Celegorm and some other elves and even though she didn’t like the idea of killing something she enjoyed the forest and the wild ride. Celegorm called her a wild one and that made her giggle and laugh.

Maedhros saw how the bud slowly opened into a rose and she put on weight and soon he realized that she was starting to become very beautiful indeed. He was getting worried, they would have to attend to the queens party and she would receive a lot of attention, not all of it wanted he was sure. The seamstress was busy making her a dress and Lerina was a bit bothered by the changes in her body. Being malnourished for so long she now started to catch up with her lost development and she complained about pains in her bust and she did in fact start to grow also in length.

Fingon came to visit them a few days before they were to go to the party and Maedhros was nervous when he introduced them. He had made sure that the guest room next to their master bedroom was prepared and he knew that Lerina had accepted that he would stay with Fingon that night but he wasn’t yet sure if she really understood how serious his feelings for his lover were. Fingon stared at Lerina as Maedhros made the formal introduction and there was disbelief in his eyes but also a bit of worry. “ Nelyo, where did this come from? She has become…radiant!”

Lerina giggled and curtsied and Fingon took her hand and kissed it politely. She had changed so much in just few weeks it was almost unbelievable. She was still shy, still fragile looking and a bit nervous too but there was a sort of light in her eyes that told him she now enjoyed life and it made her very beautiful. Maedhros just grinned. “ She has freed herself from the darkness of her past and I must say she is running this house like a true champion”

Lerina blushed. “ Oh, you are just too kind, I am still learning.”

Fingon was fascinated by her, he couldn’t help it. He had at first feared that Nelyo had become infatuated by her but that wasn’t the case. They regarded each-other as friends, almost like siblings and he was sort of glad that Maedhros now had a friend who would always be there by his side. It felt safe somehow. Fingon sensed that Lerina in spite of her tragic childhood was a very wise person, one with the potential of becoming very smart indeed and also a person capable of seeing the truth no matter what lies she was being served. She was a bit nervous around him at first but then they sat down to play a game of cards which Maedhros had taught her and before long she was laughing and having a great time. The two ner told her stories of their families and the atmosphere was both relaxed and friendly.

When the card game ended Lerina was a bit drunk and Maedhros helped her to bed, he hesitated before he got up and he grasped her hand. “ Is this really alright with you?”

She nodded, smiled. “ It is, it is not as if we really are married now is it? Go to him, that is where you belong after all. Didn’t I promise I wouldn’t stand in your way?”

He nodded. “ You did. Bless you Lerina, if there is anything I will be in the guestroom.”

She grinned. “ I know silly, go now, have fun.”

She pulled her blankets up and her grin became a bit naughty. “ And Nelyo?”

He turned his head, frowned. “ Yes?”

She giggled. “The walls are thin, don’t keep me awake?”

He scoffed. “ We will try, but I cannot promise that you won’t hear us.”

She just giggled. “ I was kidding, I am half drunk and tired, you could exercise a herd of horses in there and I wouldn’t notice. “

He bent down quickly and planted a quick and chaste kiss upon her brow. “ Sleep well Lerina”

She bit her lower lips. “ I will not say the same for I think he will be disappointed if you fall asleep”

Maedhros had to laugh and he blew out a few candles before he entered the guestroom. Fingon was already in the bed, he was sitting there with a small smile on his face. “ I must say that you are a very lucky one Nelyo. She has become amazing.”

Maedhros pulled off his nightshirt, Eru how wonderful it felt getting rid of that thing. “She has come out of her shell yes, and her injuries are completely healed by now. “

Fingon stared at him with hungry eyes and Maedhros felt a shiver run down his spine, a shiver of sheer anticipation. “ I noticed, she has become truly gorgeous, and in so little time. It is unbelievable. “

Maedhros climbed onto the bed and Fingon grasped him immediately, pulled down into a fiery kiss. “ It is, I have grown rather fond of her, it is like having a sister.”

Fingon nodded. “ I like her Nelyo, I really do. You seem to thrive with her by your side and everything that makes you happy makes me happy.”

Maedhros nipped at Fingon’s neck. “ I know! So, how are things going at court these days?”

The last time he visited he had been too busy helping his father to catch up on the newest gossip and Fingon sighed and caressed his ears, there was a glimpse of sadness in his eyes. “There are still rumors Nelyo, and they are not getting any prettier.”

Maedhros swore and Fingon kissed him tenderly. “ Worry not my love, we will protect you both. All my siblings and all of our cousins have found her to be quite likeable, we will watch her back, I promise.”

Maedhros swallowed. “ Sometimes I wonder what I have done to deserve such a wonderful ner as you, Eru must be favoring me somehow.”

Fingon just sent him a crooked grin. “ Oh, I bet you are his favorite, and now, I have longed for this for so long and dreamed of you every night.”

He leaned forth and licked the tip of Maedhros ear and the tall redhead let out a short hiss and then a gasp as Fingon gently let a finger run up the length of his shaft. He was already aroused and oozing pre cum and Fingon chuckled. “ So ready, I think I haven’t been the only one longing for this”

Maedhros almost growled, he was bucking against the touch, so teasing and light. Fingon knew exactly how to make him crazy with desire. “ I have to confess that you are right.”

Fingon had a wolfish expression upon his fair face. “ Have you been a naughty boy and touched yourself thinking of me?”

Maedhros gasped as Fingon gave his length a few very suggestive pulls. “ Yes, yes I have!”

Fingon chuckled. “ Good, then I know I haven’t been the only one!”

He started kissing his way down Maedhros body, taking his sweet time and Maedhros was wriggling and cursing, his skin already covered by a thin layer of sweat and he was breathing hard. Fingon was just as aroused as himself and since he was taller he could reach Fingon’s shoulders as his lover started to lick teasingly at his weeping cock. Fingon was very sensitive where his neck met his shoulders and he had learned how to drive his cousin mad. Fingon knew that his lover couldn’t last long like this, he was too eager and had waited for too long already so he just went for it, hoping to make Maedhros spill right away.

Maedhros was trying to resist, to make it last for as long as possible but it was no use, Fingon knew exactly how to make him climax almost without any effort at all and before long he arched and shuddered, let out a muffled cry as he spilled and allowed the orgasm to overtake his every sense. Fingon was swallowing every drop and licked him clean afterwards while Maedhros still shuddered with the aftershocks, he always became hyper sensitive right after having come and Fingon knew so he was very careful. Maedhros grinned, a grin filled with promises and grasped onto Fingon, flung him over onto his back and pinned him to the bed. “Now, it is payback time!”

Fingon squealed with delight and surrendered, he was so close already and he was glad the night was long for it would be made good use of.

Lerina had sort of dozed off, she woke up suddenly because she had heard something, her ears were rather good and she blushed when she realized what it was that had ended her sleep. She didn’t doubt that the two in the guestroom were busy and she swallowed and turned around. She didn’t want to listen but she couldn’t help it, the walls weren’t really that thin but she could hear quite a lot anyhow and she blushed even deeper. They were enjoying themselves and she felt a sort of emptiness forming deep within. She wasn’t jealous or maybe she was, she was envious of what they shared, the feelings and the certainty of them. She doubted that she ever would be able to have that kind of relationship with anyone.

When she fell asleep again she immediately started dreaming of the many times her mother chastised her for being too outgoing and for having too much zeal. A lady ought to be demure and submissive. She moaned in her sleep, she was free from that now but the memories would forever haunt her and she had a sense of foreboding resting within her mind, like snake coiled up, ready to strike. The dream ended with a rather weird image of shining light and glowing red, like a veil of blood.

The next day Maedhros came to her bed again before the maids would come to wake them, and he made sure that the bed looked as if they both had slept in it during the night. He had bathed and still there was a foreign scent coming from him, something musky and strange that made her nostrils flare. There were some rather dark marks in his neck she realized had to be love bites or hickeys and he put on a high collared tunic to cover them. She felt embarrassed for she knew what the two of them had done, she just hadn’t expected to see the physical evidence of it. She bit her lower lip. “ The servants, won’t they see that Fingon wasn’t alone in bed?”

Maedhros sent her a tired smile, there was a sort of light in his eyes and his expression was tender and a bit distant. “We changed the sheets, worry not.”

She nodded and got up, this day she was to try the new dress on for the first time and she was a bit nervous. Her bust had grown quite a lot and she had gotten a bit taller too. And her hips had gotten wider too, she no longer looked as prepubescent as before and although it made her proud it also made her a bit confused. She no longer knew her own body. It was new to her and she didn’t have anyone there she could confide in.

They went to breakfast and Fingon showed up too after a while, greeted Maedhros as if they hadn’t spent the night together and Lerina did see the same light in his eyes as in Maedhros. She could almost see the love between the two of them and she thought it was tragic that they couldn’t let it be exposed. They ate while discussing some political matters Lerina didn’t quite understand and then the two ellyn went to take a ride through the woods behind the mansion. Lerina was to have the dress fitted and she was excited and a bit nervous. She had to dress like a princess from now on, but she couldn’t be exaggerate. She had to show the wealth and status of her new family and yet be discrete, the queen was the one to wear the most expensive jewelry and the most exquisite dresses, the rules for how to dress were many and intricate.

The seamstress greeted her with a warm smile and there was a couple of maids present who had helped sewing the dress. Lerina felt nervous and the seamstress gave her a cup of wine to calm her nerves. The first impression was vital for how she would be received at court, she had to impress them and yet seem humble. She almost fainted when she saw the dress, it was wonderful. It had the deep dark bottle green color of her wedding dress but the style was very different. It was rather tight at the waist and chest with long flowing sleeves and a wide skirt and small vines with golden leaves had been embroidered all over the thin fabric which lay over a layer of velvet. It was elegant and discrete, an eye catcher without being vulgar or too sexy and the seamstress grinned, a very wide and pleased grin. “ This is perfect my lady, you will make them all swoon.”

She knew why, the dresses the court ladies had worn at her wedding had been way more intricate and so filled with gems they almost resembled stiff armor. It was like staring at a huge pile of sparkly pieces of glass and their gowns had sort of drowned within the mass of equally fantastic creations. Her dress was simple and yet way more pleasing to the eye and the seamstress chuckled. “ You cannot compete with the dresses at court, but you can outshine them”

Lerina nodded. “ Oh I bet this will start a new fashion for sure”

The seamstress nodded and there was something rather serious in her eyes. “ I hope so, the seamstresses back in Tirion are working themselves half to death whenever there is a ball or a feast. The gowns are covered with gems, and everyone has to be sewn onto the fabric by hand. I have friends in there who have spent months on a gown only to have it returned because there weren’t enough gems on it. “

Lerina got a bad taste in her mouth. “That is rather bad isn’t it?”

The seamstress nodded. “ It is, be glad you haven’t spent much time in there yet, it is like a pack of wolves and if they sense weakness they will be all over you. “

Lerina shuddered and the nis straightened her skirt a bit. “ They refuse to speak of the old days before the great journey when all dressed in animal hides or went nude, they see their past as barbaric and uncivilized but I am telling you my lady, they have just switched one sort of barbarism for another one and it is no less savage.”

Lerina swallowed hard. “ I will keep that in mind.”

The seamstress nodded. “ You’d better my lady, you will be like a lamb in a pack of wolves and to throw such an innocent young thing as you into that depraved society is sinful. Be glad your husband is strong and respected, that will be your shield.”

Lerina managed to smile, a very faint smile and it never reached her eyes. The seamstress cocked her head. “ We will put some of that gorgeous hair of yours up, and curl the rest, and this morning some jewelry arrived from your father in law. He had made it just for you.”

Lerina frowned. “ Why? “

The seamstress shrugged. “ I do not know my dear. But I have never seen the likes of it ever!”

Lerina got curious. “May I take a look at it?”

The nis nodded and left the room, returned with a box and when she opened the lid soft light seemed to stream out of it. She stared at a necklace and a pair of earrings unlike anything she had imagined. The necklace was in gold and shaped like vines entangling around some gems that were literally glowing, they were not large but they were so clear and sparkly and she had no idea of what they were. The earrings were made in the same style and the light from the gems silvery in a way, like the light of Telperion.

She gaped, the things were beyond beautiful and she suddenly remembered when Fëanor visited them, he had praised her silvery hair rather vigorously and he had even touched it once and mumbled something about Nerwen being too stubborn and proud. Later that day she had seen him enter hers and Maedhros bedroom, thinking his son had sent him to get something Maedhros had forgotten she didn’t really think of it but her hairbrush hadn’t been where she left it that morning when she got to bed that night. And there were no hairs in it, as if someone had cleaned it. She felt a strange heavy sensation in her gut, what had he done? She bit her lower lip and the sense of foreboding got stronger. She couldn’t refuse to wear these things, but she no longer admired their beauty, she couldn’t help but feel that these lovely small jewels somehow were harbingers of something terrible to come.

Fingon and Maedhros returned rather late, Maedhros told her that they had discovered that a drainage ditch had been dug too shallowly but she knew the truth. They had probably found some nice place in the woods to fuck and she had to giggle. Both had leaves in their hair and looked disheveled and they went straight to the baths and stayed there until dinnertime.

Lerina knew that the feast would be in just a couple of days and she was dreading it even more now than before. She felt safe there in the mansion, it was her stronghold, her castle. But she knew that it would become a prison if she didn’t try to seek also the outside world and she knew she had to grow up and become more mature. She had to face the court and her status sooner or later and it was better to dive in than to crawl. Her mother had taught her some good things after all and she felt that she could face everybody with her head held up high. It made her scared to the bone but for Maedhros sake she was willing to endure it all. He had become her only good friend and confidant and she didn’t want to let him down.

She knew that Fingon would stay until they all were to leave for Tirion and she decided to practice dancing and conversation until then. Whatever would come, she would convince everybody that she was a perfect lady and the things they were saying behind her back were indifferent. She wanted to show them all, the only problem was that strange sensation hiding in the back of her mind, the fear and feeling of something being wrong. She had no idea of whether or not she was just paranoid but she promised herself that she would keep an eye on her father in law from now on. Yes, she wouldn’t allow him to ruin anything, but she had a suspicion that he already had. She hadn’t really prayed before but now she did, she prayed the valar for strength to face the world, and for the strength to stand tall no matter what happened. She could only hope that they would listen.

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